Trump Saves Christmas… Again!

Back in the fall of 2015, in response to a column I had written on the chaos Donald Trump had brought to the Republican presidential race, a reader told me that he intended to vote for Trump in the primary because he (the reader) wanted to be able to say “Merry Christmas” again.

I figured the guy was joking — tossing out a sarcastic reference to Trump’s thoroughly mocked campaign promise recycled from the “War on Christmas” stories that Bill O’Reilly and others at Fox News had made popular years earlier (as far back as the Bush administration):

But the reader wasn’t joking, which I discovered after asking him why he needed Trump’s help to say something that I (along with countless other Christians in this country) had never stopped saying in the first place.

He explained that the American Left had stripped away our right to extend the seasonal Christian sentiment without fear of punishment. And he believed that Trump and only Trump was capable of changing that. He didn’t know exactly what Trump would do to achieve such change, and wipe the supposedly offensive “Happy Holidays” phrase from our cultural palette, but he was convinced that Trump would get it all straightened out. So Trump had his vote.

It was kind of disheartening to believe that someone would base a rather important decision on a decade-old media narrative, especially when the candidate who invoked it was only doing so for a cheap audience pop. I mean, even O’Reilly (the theme’s loudest prosecutor) had proudly declared the “War” to be over (the pro-Christmas forces having won) back when Obama was still president.

Yet, there are people who genuinely believe that Trump, in taking back the White House for the Republican Party, did in fact — somehow — save Christmas:

And the president himself is apparently one of those people:

Well, hold onto your jingle bells because he just did it again. Ho-ho-ho!

Last Tuesday, President Trump said that he’ll be “delaying” new tariffs that he had announced on Chinese goods, as a favor to U.S. Christmas shoppers who might be adversely affected by them.

How very thoughtful.

But if you’ve been listening at all to what our president (who nicknamed himself “Tariff Man” last summer) has been saying for many months about this trade war against China, one wouldn’t blame you for being a little confused. After all, according to Trump, our country has been benefiting greatly from these tariffs — “getting rich,” in fact, off of the billions and billions of dollars being paid directly to the U.S. Treasury by China:

So… if China’s paying us all of this tariff money, and making every day feel like Christmas here in the United States, how would relief from those tariffs be of benefit to U.S. consumers?

Is this some kind of reindeer game? Perhaps the Elf on the Shelf knows, but he’s saying nothin’.

The truth is that President Trump has finally admitted (albeit indirectly) that he’s been lying all along about who flips the dime for these tariffs. It’s not China, and never has been. It’s Americans — specifically U.S. importers who order these goods and materials from China, and then raise prices on American consumers to make up for the money they would otherwise lose. By definition, tariffs are taxes, and in Trump’s trade war, the payers of those taxes have been the American people.

This of course isn’t breaking news to anyone who has even a basic grasp of what tariffs are, and how they work. But a lot of people don’t know, nor would they otherwise have any reason to. And that’s exactly what Trump has been counting on.

One can certainly present the case that narrowing trade channels with China (by making items too expensive for U.S. importers) could potentially generate Chinese concessions that would be a net gain for the United States (an unlikely premise considering what is happening to lots of U.S. farmers and manufacturers, as well as some glaring geopolitical realities). But it doesn’t change the fact that Trump has been lying about the details of this trade war from the very beginning, and has established a pattern of billing Americans for ventures he has insisted will be paid for, or are being paid for, by other countries.

We often hear from loyal Trump supporters that we should assess the president by his deeds, and not his words (a grace never afforded to anyone else in his position). But when a political leader makes a public case, and builds public support, for a policy based on pure fabrications (while hoping the American people are stupid enough to fall for it), that in itself is a “deed” — and a despicable one at that.

At least, we on the right used to think so, back when President Obama was promising that we could keep our doctor and insurance plan.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I think it’s a very good thing that these new tariffs aren’t happening (at least for now). I wish the previous ones weren’t happening either, because too many Americans are being hurt by them. But we shouldn’t confuse this allowance by Trump for a Christmas present to Americans, nor should we confuse it with a Grinch-like story of redemption, where Christmas spirit suddenly grew the president’s heart three sizes.

This decision was much more likely brought on by the escalating trade war’s drag on the stock market, and growing fears of an economic recession, just as we head into an election year. Up until recently, what relatively little bad economic news we’ve had during the Trump presidency has come as a result of the president’s own trade policies: farm bankruptcies, agricultural bailouts, manufacturing plant shutdowns and relocations, rising consumer prices, etc.

Now, with the broader economy (including the world economy) possibly losing steam, the president can’t afford more unforced errors that would let his most effective political bragging right (and only bragging right, as far as half of the country is concerned) slip right through his fingers.

Because if the economy is looking weak in the months heading up to November of 2020, it really will take a Christmas miracle for Trump to remain in office for four more years.

Christmas Gift Ideas for the Conservatives on Your List

Thanksgiving is always a good time to distance oneself from politics, and focus on closer-to-home things like enjoying time with family and planning for the end of the year. I usually take the week off from writing a particularly substantive column, and instead put together a lighter, more personal piece. So here it goes…

This year, as my wife and I have been working on Christmas gift ideas for our children and each other, it got me thinking about some of better gifts I’ve received and purchases I’ve made in recent years. It occurred to me that some my fellow conservatives might also enjoy a few of them, so I decided to throw together a list of gift ideas for the upcoming holiday season.

Hopefully, my readers will find these suggestions useful. If not, there’s always Trumpy Bear:

Let’s get started…

Suicide of the West, by Jonah Goldberg

While the top-selling political books of the past couple years have been almost entirely Trump-centric and unabashedly partisan, the most philosophically and culturally significant contribution to this genre covers a much broader spectrum. Suicide of the West is an absolutely brilliant read, in which author Jonah Goldberg examines the miraculous societal advances that have taken place over a relatively short time in world history, and how they are in danger with the resurgence of tribalism and the erosion of our institutions.

This work would make a great gift for those (on both sides of the aisle) who are interested in a real debate about American’s future and the preservation and promotion of the values that have advanced Western society.

The Thing: Artbook

When it comes to pop-culture, I fail several conservative litmus tests. A few examples: I don’t like Country music, I’ve never thought Norm Macdonald was particularly funny (though he seems like a good guy), I find NASCAR thoroughly boring, and I really didn’t like the television show, Justified.

But there is one area in which I’m very much in alignment with my fellow righties: I love John Carpenter’s 1982 film, The Thing, and view it as one of the all-time SciFi/Horror greats. A true classic.

I’m also an art fan, so I absolutely loved receiving this unique gift last year from my family.

The Thing: Artbook includes 375 pieces of original artwork (from various artists) commemorating last year’s 35th anniversary celebration of The Thing. Some of the stuff in this book is just excellent, and die-hard fans of the film will enjoy the different interpretations of many memorable scenes.

Note: I did just notice that Amazon’s list price for this item is now $100, which is much higher than the retail price. This might mean the book is out of print, in which case you might have better luck finding it at a reasonable price elsewhere (perhaps eBay).

Jake Bugg (Self-titled Album)

I’m a rock fan in my mid forties, and I tend not to like a lot of newer music. Maybe that means I’m crotchety. Maybe it means today’s music scene is sorely lacking. I will contend to the death that it’s the latter… but that’s probably exactly what you’d expect a crotchety guy to say. Anyway, there are some notable exceptions to my views on current music, and one of them is a soulful young talent from Nottingham, England named Jake Bugg.

I was first turned onto Bugg’s retro folk-rock sound when his song Trouble Town served as the opening theme of the BBC television series, Happy Valley. I swore at the time that it was a 1960s tune that had somehow escaped my attention. Imagine my surprise when a Wikipedia search revealed that it was brand new music written and recorded by a then 18 year-old.

Since then, I’ve become an avid fan of Bugg’s, picking up all of his music (some on vinyl, where it really shines) and seeing him in concert last year (clip below); his guitar work blew the audience away. Interestingly, if the crowd at his show was any indication, his sound appeals to a very wide demographic — from teenagers to seniors. And for this reason, I suspect one of his albums (best to start with his first one) would make a great Christmas gift for fans of the genre.


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The Point of It All, by Charles Krauthammer

I’ve made my thoughts and feelings on the late Charles Krauthammer quite clear in two tribute columns I wrote earlier this year for this website. He was a man of unquestionable character who had an enormous passion for reasoned, intelligent debate and the betterment of America. That’s why I’m pretty excited to read his new book, due out in early December.

The Point of It All: A Lifetime of Great Loves and Endeavors is said to feature the best of Krauthammer’s original thought in published and unpublished work. Also included, according to the synopsis: “a deeply personal section offering insight into Krauthammer’s beliefs about what mattered most to him–friendship, family and the principles he lived by…”

The timing of the release of this book makes it ideal for gift-giving this Christmas.

Open Book Winter Album, by Justin Furstenfeld

I’ve written before of my appreciation for the music of Blue October and the example set by the band’s front-man, Justin Furstenfeld. Though Furstenfeld shies away from politics, his personal story of redemption, his work ethic, and the spiritual gratitude he carries through his life are traits that should resound with traditional conservatives.

Furstenfeld’s Open Book Winter Album was recorded from live, acoustic performances from his small-venue solo tour. The audience interaction and even the occasional sounds of glasses clinking together from a nearby bar add to the intimacy of the set. Those unfamiliar with Furstenfeld’s music are given a great sampling of the sincerity and depth of his work, making it a potentially great Christmas gift for those on your list who enjoy honest and impactful songwriting.

The Art of Eric Bryant

Oddly enough, I was introduced to the work of artist Eric Bryant on Twitter one night, after he posted a quick drawing he’d made Hollywood Weapons host, Terry Schappert (who had given me a nice blurb for my latest book). I was blown away by how good the drawing was, so I looked into some of Bryant’s other work. Needless to say from the samples below, I was thoroughly impressed.

Bryant, who’s a fellow conservative and all around good guy, is a freelance artist who has created lots of amazing paintings and drawings for both corporate and individual clients. His Instagram page features some of his brilliant work, and if you’re not following it, you should be.

I hired him a while back to do a drawing from a picture of our beloved household dog (as a gift for my wife), and as you can see, it came out fantastic. He has also done work for other members of my family.

Since there’s only about a month left between now and Christmas, my guess is that Eric wouldn’t be able to get many new orders completed before the holidays, but his work would make an excellent gift for any time of the year. It truly is special.

It’s probably easiest to contact him through his Facebook page.

Well, I hope some of you found these ideas useful. I also hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving. Good luck with your holiday shopping, and if you need one more gift idea, I hear the book series below is pretty good…

Classic TV Specials Are a Great Christmas Tradition

Note: This parenting column originally ran in the Greeley Tribune in December of 2013.

hermieOne of my favorite Christmas traditions as a child was watching the holiday kids’ specials the networks aired every year. I’m talking about those animated classics from the 60s and 70s, namely Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and The Year Without Santa Claus.

Because these hallmarks of the holiday season were only aired once a year, I looked forward to seeing them almost as much as I did opening my gifts. Really!

Those specials were magical in a way, with their charming animation, larger than life characters, witty dialogue, and iconic musical numbers. The shows’ creators clearly took their work to heart, investing long hours into constructing timeless, thoughtful masterpieces that brilliantly captured the Christmas spirit.

A few years ago, I bought a couple of Christmas-themed compilation DVDs that featured those very specials along with several others from the same era. Now, my own children look forward each year to watching them.

I love it when my daughter sings along with Frosty the Snowman, and when my son laughs at the words of Yukon Cornelius or the Miser Brothers. The shows make for great family viewings because, unlike much of today’s programming for kids, my wife and I like to watch them too.

I’m thankful that technology lets us keep such classics on our shelves, because I’m confident we’ll never see anything like them again – at least not from the television networks.

The networks just aren’t interested in trying to create quality Christmas programming for kids anymore. And for some odd reason, they even seem to have an inclination to trifle with the classics.

A few years ago, before I bought the DVDs, I was letting my kids watch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on television one night around Christmas time. It was the first time they saw it, and they of course really enjoyed it. I was eager to watch their reactions to one of the most memorable scenes from the special: The end credits where the Misfit Toys are being dropped with umbrellas from Santa’s sleigh. It’s a neat visual.

The problem was that the network decided to cut that closing scene out and replace it with an updated version featuring Sam the Snowman mixing records in some nightclub. No, I’m not joking. To me, it was nothing short of blasphemy.

Last year, I let my kids watch a 2008 sequel to The Year Without Santa Claus. It was called A Miser Brothers’ Christmas and it featured the memorable Heat Miser and Snow Miser characters from the original special.

Breaking: Presidential candidate Donald Trump endorses John A. Daly's new novel.

Breaking: Presidential candidate Donald Trump endorses John A. Daly’s new novel.

Now, I wasn’t expecting it to be nearly as good as the first one – not by a long-shot, but I did think the creators would at least TRY and capture some of the original show’s appeal. Instead, it ended up being an hour-long commercial for global warming activism that really had little to do with Christmas at all.

As Charlie Brown said in the Peanuts Christmas special, “Good grief.”

What sense does it make to try and modernize something that’s timeless? All it does is degrade a classic and make it seem less special.

I suppose I should at least give the networks credit for still airing the originals, and making it easy for families like mine to carry on this Christmas tradition. I’ll consider it their Christmas gift to the country after feeding us so many unfunny sitcoms and cheese-ball police dramas throughout the rest of the year.

Merry Christmas everyone! Whether you’re a conservative, an establishment RINO, a Trumpkin, a Democratic socialist, or don’t have any political leanings at all, I wish you all a happy and healthy new year. Peace.

The Jewish Grinch Who Stole Christmas

I never thought I’d live to see the day that Christmas would become a dirty word. You think it hasn’t? Then why is it that people are being prevented from saying it in polite society for fear that it will offend?

Why, after 60 years, is the city of Santa Monica, California, no longer allowed to erect its traditional crèche in the palisades overlooking the Pacific Ocean and why is the governor of Rhode Island insisting on calling the state’s Christmas tree a holiday tree?

Schools are being forced to replace “Christmas vacation” with “winter break” in their printed schedules. At some major retail chains, the word is verboten, replaced as a matter of policy by the generic Happy Holidays. Carols, even instrumental versions, are verboten in certain locales. All across the country, grammar schools are banning Christmas pageants.

How is it, one well might ask, that in a Christian nation this is happening? And in case you find that designation objectionable, would you deny that India is a Hindu country, that Turkey is Muslim, that Poland is Catholic? That doesn’t mean those nations are theocracies. But when the overwhelming majority of a country’s population believe Jesus to be their savior, only a darn fool would deny the obvious.

Although it seems a long time ago, it really wasn’t, that people who came here from other places made every attempt to fit in. Assimilation wasn’t a threat to anyone; it was what the Statue of Liberty represented. E pluribus unum, one out of many, was our motto. The world’s melting pot was our nickname. It didn’t mean that any group of people had to check their customs, culture or cuisine, at the door. It did mean that they, and especially their children, learned English, and that they learned to live and let live.

That has changed, as you may have noticed. And I lay a great deal of the blame at the feet of my fellow Jews. When it comes to pushing the multicultural, anti-Christian, agenda, you find Jewish judges, Jewish journalists, and the largely Jewish funded ACLU, at the forefront. What makes them even more obnoxious is that, by and large, the Jews who are leading the crusade against what is, we should never forget, a national holiday, are secular. So it’s not even a question of their religion being shortchanged; they hate their own, as well. They’re the pinheads who pretend that “separation of church and state” appears in the Constitution.

I should confess that because my family was Jewish, Christmas was never celebrated while I was growing up. But what was there not to like about the holiday? To begin with, it provided a welcome two week break from school. The decorated trees were pretty, the lights were beautiful, It’s a Wonderful Life was a great movie, and some of the best Christmas songs were even written by Jews.

But the dirty little secret in America is that in spite of the occasional over-publicized rants by the likes of Mel Gibson and Michael Richards, anti-Semitism is no longer a problem in society; it’s been replaced by a rampant anti-Christianity. For example, much of the hatred spewed towards George W. Bush had far less to do with his policies than it did with his religion. As you may have noticed, they haven’t called Barack Obama any bad names even though he’s kept Gitmo open, extended the Patriot Act and even used drones to kill American citizens. Could it be because they understand that he only attended church in order to get his political career off the ground?

These Jewish bigots voiced no concern when Bill Clinton or John Kerry made a big production out of showing up at black Baptist churches or posing with Rev. Jesse Jackson because, again, they understand that’s just politics. They only object to politicians attending church for religious reasons.

My fellow Jews, who often have the survival of Israel heading the list of their concerns when it comes to electing a president, only gave 26% of their vote to Bush and roughly 30% to Mitt Romney, even though they were clearly far friendlier towards Israel than John Kerry or Barack Obama.

What’s more, unlike Clinton, who had Yasser Arafat sleeping in the Lincoln Bedroom so often even Monica Lewinsky got jealous, Bush saw to it that the Palestinian butcher was persona non grata at the White House. But if you mention George Bush to most secular Jews, their reaction is to spit first and ask questions later.

It is the ACLU, which is largely funded by Jews and has a legal department that is almost exclusively Jewish, that is leading the attack against Christianity in America. It is they who have conned far too many people into believing that when the 1st Amendment states that Congress is prohibited from establishing a state religion, what it really means is that a Christmas wreath can’t be placed on City Hall. They also cynically ignore the part that prohibits Congress from “abridging the free exercise” of religion.

You may have noticed, though, that the ACLU is highly selective when it comes to religious intolerance. The same group of self-righteous shysters who, at the drop of a “Merry Christmas” will slap you with an injunction, will fight for the right of an American Indian to ingest peyote and a devout Islamic woman to appear veiled on her driver’s license.

I happen to despise bullies and bigots. I hate them when they represent the majority, but no less when, like too many Jews in America, they represent an infinitesimal minority.

I am getting the idea that these self-righteous secular Jews won’t be happy until they pull off their own version of the Spanish Inquisition, forcing Christians to either deny their faith and convert to agnosticism or suffer the consequences.

I should point out that many of these people abhor Judaism every bit as much as they do Christianity. They’re the ones who behave as if atheism were a calling. They’re the nutcakes who go berserk if anyone even says, “In God we trust” or mentions that the Declaration of Independence refers to a Creator with a capital “C.” By this time, I’m only surprised that they haven’t begun a campaign to do away with Sunday as a day of rest. After all, it’s only for religious reasons — Christian reasons — that Sunday, and not Tuesday or Wednesday, is so designated.

This is a Christian nation, my friends. And all of us are fortunate it is one, and that so many millions of Americans have seen fit to live up to the highest precepts of their religion. It should never be forgotten that, in the main, it was Christian soldiers who fought and died to defeat Nazi Germany and who liberated the concentration camps.

Speaking as a member of a minority group — and one of the smaller ones at that — I say it behooves those of us who don’t accept Jesus Christ as our savior to show some gratitude to those who do, and to start respecting the values and traditions of the overwhelming majority of our fellow citizens, just as we keep insisting that they respect ours.

Merry Christmas, my friends.

©2012 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write

Slaughtering Sacred Cows

People in the West used to make fun of India because of their sacred cows. But now it’s India’s turn to laugh because we have become a nation overrun with privileged bovines. The major difference is that ours have only two legs.

We’re all well aware that you can’t speak honestly about blacks and Latinos without some self-righteous left-wing clod accusing you of racism. We are supposed to simply grant them a special status, pretending that it’s only white bigotry that prevents them from taking their rightful place among society’s elite. In order to do that, of course, we have to ignore the fact that the illegitimacy rate among blacks is over 70% and among Hispanics, 50%. We also have to pretend that although 79% of Asians and 76% of whites stick around long enough to get their high school diplomas, whereas only 60% of blacks and 58% of Latinos do so, it plays no role in explaining why these two groups make up such a large percentage of the perpetual underclass.

There is in fact no surer way of guaranteeing that people will never reach middleclass status than by raising kids without fathers, who will then drop out of school the first chance they get. But we are all supposed to pretend that they are the innocent victims of a racist society because to do otherwise smacks of bigotry.

Another group of people that is beyond criticism are those categorized as the homeless. Although there is no getting around the fact that in this economy, nobody except for millionaires and billionaires — you know, the folks who were in a position to plunk down $35,000 in order to break bread with the populist candidate Obama — is assured of a roof over his head, the fact remains that most of the folks who are on the streets, mooching for loose change and polluting the atmosphere, are those addicted to drugs or booze, and those psychotics who, in earlier times, would have been institutionalized for their own safety and the safety of others.

Speaking of psychotics, what is one to make of atheists? I can understand agnostics. If you’re not born into a religious family, I see nothing wrong with skepticism when it comes to a deity. In fact, it strikes me as perfectly reasonable to question religious authority when one takes a good look at a lot of those hypocritical creeps who claim to be direct pipelines to God Almighty.

But there is something within me that cringes whenever I hear or see an atheist announcing that he has it on good authority that God doesn’t exist. And on whose authority would that be? Why, his own, of course.

He will invariably declare that science provides no proof of God’s existence, and thus wrapping himself in the blanket of pure logic, he will profess that he is smarter than all those lunkheads who disagree with him. The fact that a great many of those lunkheads happen to be actual scientists doesn’t raise a doubt in the minds of these self-aggrandizing nincompoops. Like Joe E. Brown, when he cheerfully announces, at the conclusion of Some Like it Hot, after Jack Lemmon confesses that he’s not a real blonde, that he can’t have children and, finally, that he’s not even a woman, they, too, would say, “Nobody’s perfect.”

Although I confess I don’t know if God exists, I do know that science has been proven wrong too many times for anyone to use it as either a shield or a weapon.

The fact that people can’t prove that God exists doesn’t mean it proves He doesn’t. I happen to believe that those who take such obvious pleasure in denying His existence believe it makes them seem godlike. Frankly, although they pretend that they have logic on their side, I believe they are governed by their emotions, not their intellect.

I could be wrong, but I suspect that all those odd creatures who surface every December in order to intimidate communities into compliance with their opposition to crèches, carols and even referencing “Christmas” in stores and schools, are still rebelling against their parents and other authority figures. It’s as if some fairy tale crone cursed them in their cradles, dooming them to be perennial teenagers.

They claim that nobody has proven God exists, at least not to their satisfaction. But it is also true that nobody has explained the mystery of consciousness or why flowers have an aroma since that plays no part in attracting pollinating bees or how bees, who are an aerodynamic disaster, manage to fly; or how, for that matter, with an 8% unemployment rate, a $16 trillion debt and a disastrous foreign policy, Barack Obama could possibly be re-elected.

©2012 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write